FIBERGLASS BRIDGES 101 / Q&A’s
Why would I chose fiberglass bridges over the alternatives?

Fiberglass is one of the strongest and most durable materials in the world. Unlike other building materials it does not rot, rust, corrode or deteriorate. Fiberglass bridges are particularly cost-effective for for pedestrian traffi c or vehicle traffi c weighing less than 15,000 pounds. Following you will find several very important advantages:


Longest Lasting

A fiberglass bridge has an expected life-span of well over 50 years where it will retain its structural integrity. It has a far superior resistance to the effects of UV, moisture, salt air than wood, steel or aluminum.

Low Maintenance   _

A fiberglass bridge requires virtually no maintenance. Occasional pressure-washing is all that is needed to restore it to its original appearance. By comparison, steel will rust over time and require regular painting. Wood will rot and require replacement in as little as 8 years. Even aluminum, while it doesn’t rust, will corrode and require expensive maintenance to retain its appearance. Fiberglass bridges clearly out-perform all of these alternatives by having the least in maintenance costs.

Easy Installation             

A fiberglass bridge up to 50’ long and 8’ wide is usually delivered in 1 piece. If abutments are prepared in advance, installation is usually achieved in less than a couple of hours. The weight of a fiberglass bridge is a fraction of a similar bridge made of wood, aluminum or steel so the equipment requirements to lift it in place are much less.

Eco Footprint             

A fiberglass bridge has no impact on the natural environment. There is no leeching of toxins or other undesirable materials. By contrast, pressure treated wood includes an arsenic component and galvanized steel is coated with zinc compounds. That is not to say that wood and steel are environmentally unacceptable but increasingly jurisdictions are making rules which limit their use near environmentally sensitive areas.

Natural Look             

Fiberglass bridges are made in finishes which mimic materials commonly used in bridge construction. ‘Wood finish’ fiberglass bridges are virtually indistinguishable from the ‘real thing’ and users of the bridge don’t give it a second thought, they just assume it is a wood bridge. ‘Stone finish’ fiberglass bridges also closely resemble the ‘real thing’. We can explain that we actually use nature’s materials to make original moulds from which our bridge components are manufactured. For example, real wood planks are used to create ‘negatives’ which become moulds which capture all of nature’s imperfections such as knots, grains, etc. The same is true of our ‘stone finish’ bridges – the moulds include negatives of real natural rocks. These methods allow us to provide finishes with the highest level of authenticity.

Where can I use a fiberglass bridge?

The applications are numerous : golf courses, municipal trails, municipal parks, residential. Virtually any ‘off road’ bridge use can be done in fiberglass.

What is the longest span available with a fiberglass bridge?

Links Bridges offers 100% fiberglass bridges for spans up to 50’ (15M). It is technically possible to make them for longer spans, but shipment become an issue.

What are the load-bearing capacities of a fiberglass bridge?

Beams and decks can be engineered and built to any load-bearing capacity. For practical purposes, the largest Vehicular Live Load that Links Bridges routinely manufactures to is 15,000 pounds. As noted above, while fiberglass has a higher strength to weight ratio than steel, fiberglass is about 14% the density of steel so fiberglass beams for loads higher than 15,000 pounds can be made but will be large and expensive.

What does Vehicular Live Load (VLL) mean?

For purposes of ‘sizing’ your bridge, it is the weight of the heaviest vehicle which will be using that bridge.

How does Links Bridges make fiberglass which so closely resembles natural wood or aggregates?

There are some proprietary secrets involved so the full answer is not available. However, we can explain that we actually use nature’s materials to make original moulds from which our bridge components are manufactured. For example, real wood planks are used to create ‘negatives’ which become moulds which capture all of nature’s imperfections such as knots, grains, etc. The same is true of our ‘stone finish’ bridges – the moulds include negatives of real natural rocks. These methods allow us to provide finishes with the highest level of authenticity.

How much does a fiberglass bridge cost?

Like all bridges, costs will vary significantly based on length, width, guard rail requirements and applicable building codes. In general terms, the range of costs is from $500 per linear foot up to $2,000 per linear foot. For some bridge sizes and applications, there are less expensive alternatives to fiberglass. Nonetheless, when maintenance costs and life cycle replacement costs are considered, the fiberglass bridge will almost certainly be the most cost-effective choice.

What is involved in the installation of a fiberglass bridge?

The installation is incredibly easy compared to any other bridge alternative for 2 main reasons. First, the bridge is delivered in 1 piece ready for installation and use.

Second, the materials are much lighter than wood, steel or aluminum. foundations need to be prepared in advance. Links Bridges will design these for you and work with you or your contractor to ensure they are prepared properly. When the bridge is delivered, it can be lifted directly from the truck using a small crane or a backhoe and placed directly on the supports. If access to the bridge site is a concern, we can supply removable wheels to allow the bridge to be towed from the unloading point to the installation site. Once placed on the supports, anchor bolts are used to secure the bridge.

Will the bridge be slippery when it is wet?

All deck surfaces are finished with a ‘non-skid’ texture which exceeds building standards for slip-resistance.